BT Wholesale has made its official announcement on new limits for the 0.5Mbps and 1Mbps services. Readers should note that the new limits do not come into effect until 6th September 2004, so do not expect ISP sales/support staff to be ready until that date, or to be able to order using the new limits until then. The full BT press release can be found here.
The 0.5Mbps ASDL service is to have its test limit abolished, and the 1Mbps service is to have its limit raised from 41dB to 60dB. The 2Mbps services will remain on the 41dB test limit. The effect of this is that almost all people who can get a 0.5Mbps service now, should be able to receive the 1Mbps service, and a lot more people will be able to get the basic 0.5Mbps service.
As mentioned some time ago, for around 20% of the people beyond the previous 60dB limit an engineer visit may be required to install an ADSL faceplate on the master socket, or to rectify problems with the customers wiring or the local BT network. This work will be carried out for free, though unfortunately it will still be the case that a small number of lines will not support ADSL at all, estimates suggest this will be around 0.2% of lines. How the 'no limits' ADSL service will work is that if the line is connected to an ADSL enabled exchange the 0.5Mbps service will be enabled. Subsequently if the service does not work, then the ISP can request an engineer visit to try and resolve the issue.
The key message here is that if you have applied for 0.5Mbps ADSL previously and failed, or not bothered because the online checkers said no, then order the service after September 6th, and the chances are that you will be able to get it. For the growing number who had failed the 1Mbps tests, then the same applies, order a regrade. We would suggest that rather than relying on the online ADSL checkers ISPs provide, that you visit the BT Wholesale website, because in the past a few providers have been slow to update their checkers.
Much of the greatly relaxed approach to limits is down to the experience gained in Milton Keynes, Fort William and Dingwall during the long reach trials. These trials have shown that the effect of phone extensions on very long lines can be mitigated by the use of the ADSL faceplates.
This announcement puts the UK on target for 99.4% ADSL broadband coverage by summer 2005. This is amazingly on a par with the number of households that can receive BBC1/2,ITV & Channel 4 and well above the number able to recieve Channel 5. Issues like TPON is been addressed, with an increasing number of those areas now having ADSL coverage, though the copper overlay program still has some way to go before completion.
Some of the common questions are answered over on the Milton Keynes Broadband Action Groups website here.